Miners place second in Region | ParkRecord.com

Miners place second in Region

by Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

Park City High School boys’ basketball coach Caleb Fine has said all season that a team can win or lose by one possession. That was never more true than it was during the Miners’ final game of the season Wednesday night as they hosted Union and pulled out a last-second 51-50 win.

Fine started a new lineup to honor the senior players, playing all four seniors and sophomore guard Jon Schettler. The Miners were up 13-12 at the end of the first quarter but Fine said they really made a statement in the second quarter when they held Union to only two points.

In the third quarter, the Miners went on a 10-2 run, and took a 17-point lead when, Fine said, the team became complacent.

"That’s when, unfortunately, it all started to unravel for us," he said. "It was a combination of being a little tired and losing our sense of urgency a little bit."

Union went on a 12-4 run and nearly tied the game. In the fourth quarter, Union was able to take the lead for the first time since early in the game.

"Ultimately, we didn’t defend well enough in the fourth quarter," Fine said. "We gave them too many opportunities. We have to give Union credit. They made some good shots and battled hard."

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With 10 seconds left, Union’s point guard made a floating shot, leaving the Miners down by one. The Miners took a time-out to draw up a plan. Forward Britton Buford made a cut into the paint after taking a pass from guard Sam Sisk. Buford, who led the team with 22 points for the night, made the shot with one second left in the game to give the Miners the victory they needed to take second place in Region for the first time since 2002, Fine said.

"The ending was thrilling to say the least," he said. "Disappointing to put ourselves in that situation, though. (We) really let a big lead go. That’s not the first time we’ve done it this year. But in the sense of an exhilarating night, it doesn’t get much better than that."

But giving up a 17-point lead wasn’t Fine’s only disappointment for the night. Late in the game, Miner fans found themselves being lectured by school officials for the second time this season. But this time, instead of throwing half-empty water bottles onto the court as they did during a Wasatch game, someone threw a rolled-up T-shirt at a Miner cheerleader while she was in an extension – standing more than five feet in the air – causing the head cheer coach and other school officials to worry that the cheerleader would fall and suffer a severe injury. The cheerleaders were then instructed not to perform near the student section.

"We’ve had great fans in the sense of support, but they have to have appropriate behavior and that’s not appropriate," Fine said.

The Miners will host a first-round playoff game Feb. 20 at a time to be determined. He said they likely will play Cedar City, which Fine described as a "very disciplined team."

"We’re not done yet," he said."I believe this team has more wins in them. I do believe they’re capable of beating any team in the state any given night."

Win or lose in the playoffs, the Miners are already guaranteed a winning record and met their original goal of finishing in second place or better in Region.

"We didn’t get there the way I expected to get there, but all said and done, we got there," Fine said. "But I’m not satisfied. We have a week and a half to prepare to win a game that is the biggest game in Park City basketball since 2002. That’s a pretty big privilege and these boys have earned that."